A Fire Upon the Deep
Thousands of years hence, many races inhabit a universe where a mind's potential is determined by its location in space - from superintelligent entities in the Transcend, to the limited minds of the Unthinking Depths, where only simple creatures and technology can function. Nobody knows what strange force partitioned space into these 'zones of thought', but when the warrin...more
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[A known Goodreads reviewer of Midwesten US origin. Extensive priors before this review began. Appears aligned with the Hipster Coalition but has denied close ties. Program recommendation: Imagine this post being read in a tone of self-satisfied ironic detachment]
Subject: Books to talk about with my wife ...more
This is an absolutely fantastic book.
On the outskirts of the Galaxy, far from the physical constraints of the Galactic core, faster-than-light travel is possible, and Transcended intelligences flourish to a complexity that dwarfs human comprehension. Scavenging for buried knowledge on a dead world, a party of humans awakes an ancient evil: an archive containing an entity so powerful and so m ...more
I enjoyed the story of the Tines, aliens with pack minds, and I came to like the concept of the "zones of thought", where different levels of technology are possible in different areas of the galaxy.
But I found myself indifferent to the rest of the characters. The enemy they called the Blight seemed ominous only in the prologue - for the rest of the book it was kept at suc ...more
A group of scientists investigating a five billion year old data archive accidentally unleashes the Blight, a malignant superintelligence that rapidl ...more
As other reviewers pointed out, this book has some great ideas. Pack sentience is very nice, and the idea of zones is intriguing. Unfortunately, all these are wrapped in very shoddy writing. To tell the truth, the writing was barely above fan sci-fi in some places.
The characterization is also, most unfortu ...more
different flavors: adventure, medieval fantasy, comedy, hard science fiction, even horror. big ideas.
thoughtful, exciting, highly original. fantastic book.
Why "A Fire Upon the Deep" is Utter Garbage
1. Mr. Vinge's characters are only so-so, and the humans are the worst of the lot. Every once in a blue moon a character will shine, which makes it so hard to bear their poor treatment at other critical points. Vernor struggles, as most sci-fi aut ...more
I mean, from an intellectual standpoint, this is brilliant. The world-building is so convincing, I actually was frequently disturbed by it, which is kinda why I can't love it, which is actually a testament to it's brilliance. It's thought provoking and unbelievably well shaped. ...more
I knew practically nothing about this book when I started - except that I hadn't liked the only other Vernor Vinge book I'd read (Rainbow's End). This is about a gazillion times better!
So here's the low down:
This is a far future yarn, with three great 'big ideas'.
1) Space is not uniform. I'm probably going to explain this poorly (my wife looked somewhat unconvinced when I tried to explain it to her), but here goes: there are zones of thought. Somewhere in the ...more
Originally posted at Fantasy Literature
A Fire Upon the Deep was the big breakout novel from Vernor Vinge, winner of the 1993 Hugo Award and nominated for the Nebula. It features a unique premise I haven’t encountered before: the universe has been separated into four separate Zones of Thought: the Unthinking Depths, Slow Zone, Beyond, and Transcend. Starting from the galactic core, the Zones demarcate differing levels of techn ...more
At any rate, this 1990’s Hugo-winning novel (an award shared with Doomsday Book, which I LOVED) is fairly famous and highly regarded, so I have a feeling that my middling reaction to it is something of an outlier, but there it is. I found it to be alternately rambling, dense, imaginative, compelling, obtuse, and fru ...more
My reading of this book was pretty uneven. I read about 25% on a plane, then several days with no reading. Then I read another 25% on a plane and several more days with no reading. After that it was a chapter or two here or there stretching the whole thing out over 2+ weeks. It's not a short book, but it was obvious to me as I went on that I was losing ...more
The notion of the zones of thought was interesting, albeit a real stretch to me. The tines were a kind-of interesting construction, though mass minds have been done before. And, for whatever re ...more
Here's Jo Walton's fine retro-review, from 2009:
"Any one of the ideas in A Fire Upon the Deep would have kept an ordinary writer going for years. For me it’s the book that does everything right, the example of what science fiction does when it works."
I'm (mildly) surprised at the number of so-so reviews here. Which just go ...more
The novel takes place in Vinge's "Zones of Thought" universe in which the galaxy is separated into discrete zones, each of which is identified by its relative location to the galactic core and its ability to support advanced technology and faster-than-light travel. I initially found The Zones a silly and unnecessary c ...more
A lot of TV series follow the basic "A Plot and B Plot" style of storytelling. Good TV shows manage to connect them thematically and then tie them together into one story by the end. Vinge does this here.
On the macro scale we have the Blight, an ancient, malevolent virus that takes over everyone in its path, human and alien alike. On the smaller scale we have two kids stranded on an alien planet along with a bunch of their friends in ...more
I really enjoyed the universe that Vinge created here—regions of space where things moved faster or slower, where artificial intelligence could be raised to the s ...more
The most interesting aspect of the story is the remarkable race that inhabits the planet--intelligent beings t ...more
Winner: Hugo Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Nebula Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
Nominee: Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel
This is an epic, sprawling space opera set in the distant future where a menacing blight is unleashed after an ancient artefact is discovered and it threatens to overwhelm the galaxy. A few people just manage to escape with the key to counteracting the blight but fall foul of the local inhabitants on a planet they c ...more
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